Group D sees two of the most unpredictable teams in world football slotted together. While France have made a mess of their last two international campaigns, England have failed to win anything since their World Cup win in 1966. Throw Sweden and Ukraine into the mix and we have an absolutely intriguing Group D to watch out for.
On paper, England and France are favorites to go through. But with an inspired Zlatan Ibrahimovic in form, Sweden are no pushovers. Likewise Andriy Shevchenko would be looking at this as his last opportunity to make his mark on the international stage and Ukraine would be motivated in doing well in front of their home crowd.
With injuries to Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Gary Cahill over the past couple of weeks, Wayne Rooney’s suspension, controversy over the exclusion of Rio Ferdinand and a manager who has been in charge only since May, England’s preparation for the Euro 2012 couldn’t have got worse.
England, after failing to qualify for the Championships in 2008, went through their qualifiers unbeaten under Fabio Capello. But the Italian’s decision to resign over stripping of John Terry’s captaincy has left England’s preparation in tatters. Roy Hodgson, who had a decent season managing West Brom, handed over the captaincy to Steven Gerrard who, along with Scott Parker will man the midfield in the absence of Frank Lampard.
Key Player: With a squad filling brimming with star players, England’s key man would be Ashley Young, who will take his place on the left flank and provide pace to the attack. Young had a fantastic start to his Manchester United career before an injury put him out of the game for a while. Young, however has a knack of scoring goals in key games and the Three Lions would be banking on his goal prowess once again during the Championships
Other Stars: Steven Gerrard, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart.
Prediction: Quarterfinals, yet another disappointing international campaign.
England, despite all their troubles will be expected to go through to the Quarterfinals. Their clash against France would be the key to how far they would progress in the tournament as the team slipping up faces a probable clash against World Champions Spain in the second round.